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HBO documentary Casting By

I haven't seen a thread on this yet. It's a fabulous documentary primarily about the legendary casting director Marion Dougherty. A bit of it is also about Lynn Stalmaster.

Jon Voight's story about getting the role in Midnight Cowboy is fantastic. I have a feeling Travolta put out to Stalmaster (a man) to try to get the role in The Last Detail. He didn't get it.

Taylor Hackford is in this as someone who doesn't seem to feel that casting directors have any real effect in the process and certainly don't deserve Oscar recognition for their work. What a douchebag. Why is Helen Mirren still married to this asshole?

by Anonymousreply 5908/27/2013

[quote] I have a feeling Travolta put out to Stalmaster (a man) to try to get the role in The Last Detail. He didn't get it.

Which part? The Randy Quaid one?

by Anonymousreply 108/23/2013

Airing times?

by Anonymousreply 208/23/2013

I just watched this the other night. It's a great film, and I'm sure DL's many old film buffs will love it.

by Anonymousreply 308/24/2013

R1, yes. Travolta said once RQ auditioned, TPTB saw that he was made for the part. Stalmaster convinced JT to stick around Hollywood for something else.

by Anonymousreply 408/24/2013

Love this film!

Strange that Meryl Streep was not interviewed as everyone from Pacino to Midler to Redford to Eastwood to Close are there.

by Anonymousreply 508/24/2013

Funny. I actually did start a thread here about CASTING BY a few weeks ago when it premiered on HBO and it didn't get many more posts than this thread.

What a shame the doc isn't finding more viewers, especially from DL as I think they'd all love it.

by Anonymousreply 608/25/2013

"I have a feeling Travolta put out to Stalmaster (a man) to try to get the role in The Last Detail. He didn't get it."

Weren't there rumors that he slept with Robert Stigwood and/or Allan Carr?

by Anonymousreply 708/25/2013

Casting directors can be vital, but Hackford is right, they shouldn't get oscar recognition for it. Many movies are a mix of using a casting director alongside package deals (certain stars together with a certain screenplay) put together by agencies. It's not exact enough to hand out an award for. A vanity project produced by an actor might also use a casting director for the rest of the roles - how do people vote on this?

by Anonymousreply 808/25/2013

R8, a casting director doesn't simply suggest the leads, they bring in potential candidates every single role. Your logic doesn't hold up.

by Anonymousreply 908/25/2013

Except that they don't always bring in potential candidates for every single role. Many blockbusters are built specifically around a certain performer. You think a casting director brings in a potential candidate for the starring role in a sequel like one of the Mission Impossible films?

by Anonymousreply 1008/25/2013

If you just stop and think of the casts of some recent successful TV series like The Sopranos, 6 Feet Under, Oz, Mad Men, House of Cards and Orange Is the New Black, you will realize how vital a good casting director's contribution can be.

All of those series' casts were heavily populated with generally unknown actors, even the leads like James Gandolfini, Jon Hamm, Michael C. Hall, et. al. Or with actors like Kate Mulgrew in Orange, cast against type, who could only have been suggested by a wildly imaginative Casting Director.

Casting Directors are every bit as responsible for the vision of a project as the Production Designer and Costume Designer.

by Anonymousreply 1108/25/2013

"Many blockbusters are built specifically around a certain performer."

Very true, but many times it's the supporting performances that "make" a movie. In all those generic action blockbusters the villains and the character actors are usually more interesting than the lead.

by Anonymousreply 1208/25/2013

Most of the blockbusters don't really have good casting, so the casting director wouldn't even be nominated (much like the actors and writers involved with the blockbuster aren't generally nominated). I do, however, think that it should be an Oscar field, since casting directors play a vital role.

by Anonymousreply 1308/25/2013

HACKford was certainly cast in the villian of this doc.

by Anonymousreply 1408/25/2013

"Or with actors like Kate Mulgrew in Orange, cast against type, who could only have been suggested by a wildly imaginative Casting Director."

Why would this necessarily be true? How do we know this couldn't have been suggested by a director, producer, or creator/show runner? I know who Kate Mulgrew is, and I don't work in show business, so I would certainly assume that directors, producers, etc. know who she is and would be capable of putting her on a list of possibilities themselves, without being dependent on a casting director to bring her to their attention.

by Anonymousreply 1508/25/2013

Yes r15, it's very clear you don't work in show business. You would really be SHOCKED by the limited imaginations of people in power.

by Anonymousreply 1608/25/2013

[quote] have a feeling Travolta put out to Stalmaster (a man) to try to get the role in The Last Detail. He didn't get it... Which part? The Randy Quaid one?

No Rose, the Carol Kane part.

by Anonymousreply 1708/25/2013

R8/R10, your argument is totally simplistic with little to no understanding of how film production actually works.

A casting director brings in choices for the director of a film for every single role, not just the leads.

by Anonymousreply 1808/25/2013

Warren Beatty's mumbling was laugh out loud funny and Taylor Hackford is a big blowhard. It has to be all about him.

by Anonymousreply 1908/25/2013

Taylor Hackford came across as an insufferable bore and he also came across as insecure. A good director gives credit to his team for helping realize their vision. Giving credit to the casting person does not minimize the director's role. But he can't see past his own insecurity. He's so old school, he probably thinks they're clerks.

Certainly someone like Marian Dougherty play a vital role in the projects she worked on.

by Anonymousreply 2008/25/2013

whenever i've seen mirren interviewed about hackford, she praises him to the hilt, but behind her eyes i see a vast well of hatred. if he dies in his sleep, they need to run a full blood panel. he must have "nudies" of her from the old days.

by Anonymousreply 2108/25/2013

[quote]he must have "nudies" of her from the old days.

Honey, Mirren did nude scenes early in her career. Hell, she did "Caligula" and did the DVD commentary with Malcolm McDowell. She doesn't give a shit.

by Anonymousreply 2208/25/2013

Hackford is hated by many in the industry. He's burned a lot of bridges and producers and actors don't want to work with him.

by Anonymousreply 2308/25/2013

former actress Debra Winger must be posting on this thread.

by Anonymousreply 2408/25/2013

Hackford is a jackass, but I don't believe that casting director should be an Oscar category.

Lord knows the history of cinema is filled with movies that had blockbuster casts and are almost unwatchable. Like it or not, actors are a raw material, no different in some ways than the lumber, nails, and paint used to make the sets. We give the Oscar to the Production Designer because he takes the lumber, nails and paint and molds them into something. The Director takes the actors and molds them into something.

What's the difference?

Besides, you open this door, and the Agents will all want casting credits.

by Anonymousreply 2508/25/2013

It can be seen anytime on HBO's 'On-Demand' . All movie fans should see this very interesting documentary.

by Anonymousreply 2608/25/2013

Can you see it anywhere if you don't have HBO?

by Anonymousreply 2708/25/2013

Oh, that Taylor Hackford came off as an unsufferable prick! Gawd knows what he & Gere did to our little JAP, Debra Winger, to make her cry during that sex scene with Richard.

by Anonymousreply 2808/25/2013

Debra was turbulently brilliant.

by Anonymousreply 2908/25/2013

Taylor Hackford cannot be the only director who doesn't want to give due credit to casting directors. There must be a majority of them or the Academy would have created an Oscar category to honor casting directors by now.

Even Marion, the acknowledged Queen of them all, was denied an honorary Oscar, for chrissakes!

But Hackford is the only one who would apparently speak to the doc makers on record.

by Anonymousreply 3008/25/2013

Casting curio: Derek Jacobi was in the final three for 'Silence Of The Lambs', with Day Lewis and Hopkins. DJ would have been intriguing, but AH clearly fulfilled all best hopes.

(It's in Jacobi's just-out memoir.)

by Anonymousreply 3108/26/2013

Oh Lord, not another fishing movie on DL.

by Anonymousreply 3208/26/2013

[quote]Derek Jacobi was in the final three for 'Silence Of The Lambs', with Day Lewis and Hopkins

Surprised about Day-Lewis being considered. He was pretty young, almost the same age as "trainee" Jodie.

by Anonymousreply 3308/26/2013

[quote] A casting director brings in choices for the director of a film for every single role, not just the leads.

I don't think the job suits the oscars well, though. There are too many factors involved that make the casting director's work hard to assess.

What if the casting director's suggestions were good ideas but in practice the actors don't live up to expectations for any number of possible reasons outside the casting director's control?

The director picks the cast and he/she may not even stick to the casting director's suggestions. What about the fact some star performers, directors and producers cast their own family members, lovers and/or friends in important roles? How would that be addressed?

What about the differences in director involvement? For instance, Tarantino movies are known for strong and creative casting, but Tarantino is heavily involved in casting his films, a lot of the most famous casting choices from his films were ideas that he genuinely appears to have come up with on his own while writing the script, and he's really quite good at getting an actor's best so some of the perceived strength of the cast may be attributal to strength of directing.

by Anonymousreply 3408/26/2013

I can see both sides of the debate and in the end, I would just give casting directors who have made a significant contribution over a lifetime an oscar but not for specific projects.

Casting directors are essentially consultants whose job it is to know what the client [producers/directors] might not know.

Agents pitch actors to casting directors that they might not know or think of in a certain way?

Should agents get Oscars? No. Simply stated.

It is rare for an agent to have the kind of wide industry impact that Marion or a few others have had.

So I would give a lifetime Oscar to someone like Marion but not every year.

People need to understand the way Marion did casting is as rare as Marion herself. Today's casting people are in a position of dealing with directors that often have a tiny percentage of the talent or smarts that the directory Marion dealt with had.

My favorite casting directors have at least a little of what Marion had in spades. They willingness to say I AM RIGHT ABOUT THIS PERSON AND YOU ARE WRONG. Tough when you consider it is your reputation on the line you really have to believe in your convictions.

That is a risk most people are afraid to take because they don't really have the depth of conviction she had.

Casting ain't easy but the smart casting people are a dream to deal with.

There are a few I don't like, very few actually. Only one of Marion's alumni is on my least favorite people list. I wont name names but she is truly a "royal pain" and has let more talented people slip through her grasp without noticing than I can count.

The rest of Marion's legacy is pretty impressive as was the lady herself.

by Anonymousreply 3508/26/2013

Wally Nicita came off as something of a bitch. Does she cast Royal Pains, R35?

by Anonymousreply 3608/26/2013

[quote]Hackford is a jackass, but I don't believe that casting director should be an Oscar category.

I don't either but for the Academy to deny Marion Dougherty an honorary Oscar is ridiculous when they hand one to Roger Corman, who never made anything resembling a good movie, let alone a great one. They honored him for introducing to the world a great roster of talent from Coppola to DeNiro and that's exactly what Marion Dougherty did. Also more hurtful since she had so much support from the Academy members.

by Anonymousreply 3708/26/2013

not r35 but Nacita doesn't cast Royal Pains.

by Anonymousreply 3808/26/2013

r35 here replying to r36. I was most definitely not talking about Wally Nicita. I liked her very much but she could be tough.

Also, I am not talking about "being a bitch" sometimes being a bitch is a woman's only friend in this business:} I am talking about the ability to feel and perceive talent when it walks in the room.

Wally doesn't cast anymore but in the 80's she was major. She had a production company with Bette Midler at one point. I think is mostly retired now.

I am an agent btw. I know them all.

by Anonymousreply 3908/26/2013

Richard Donner's comments about Marion opening his eyes were pretty powerful. He said he never would have considered Danny Glover for the first Lethal Weapon because he is black. Those movies made billions.

Marion brought together some of the most iconic buddies over her career. What a shame that the Academy denied her a honorary Oscar. Some pretty powerful stars, who owed their careers to Marion, wrote letters and petitioned the Academy.

Movies today are more about popularity than chemistry.

by Anonymousreply 4008/26/2013

It was especially enlightening to see the footage of a very young Jon Voight in the NY TV drama cast by Marion.

He did, indeed, give a dreadful performance and yet Marion was able to see through that and get him cast in Midnight Cowboy a few years later.

And Voight was so unique in that role, which might have so easily gone to just a Hollywood flavor-of-the-month.

by Anonymousreply 4108/26/2013

"Oh, that Taylor Hackford came off as an unsufferable prick! Gawd knows what he & Gere did to our little JAP, Debra Winger, to make her cry during that sex scene with Richard."

What happened there?

by Anonymousreply 4208/26/2013

I don't live in America and I missed this movie in the film festival, any idea how I might watch it?

by Anonymousreply 4308/26/2013

I caught it quite by accident on some minor British TV channel. I was transfixed. They spoke a lot about my favourite era...1967-80.

by Anonymousreply 4408/26/2013

Actually R25, you're giving too much credit to directors - actors are more than "something," they're not raw material like paint and lumber. You've bought into the whole myth of directors as acting coaches. They're not. An actor shows up prepared - AT THE FIRST CASTING. They'd never get called back if they didn't. They show up on set - PREPARED. If they didn't, they'd be useless. Most of the time, an actor would be LUCKY to get three takes, if that. The idea that a director just steps up and whispers "rosebud" in an actor's ear and suddenly a fully formed, layered performance emerged is ludicrous.

Most directors know nothing about acting - actors primarily take care of themselves and/or work privately with acting coaches. A director makes adjustments or suggestions but they don't "mould" actors. There's no time for that even if they had the ability. Directors - even on stage - are not acting coaches. You would be surprised at how stupid most of them are.

As for casting directors, they think enough of themselves already - the last thing actors need to deal with is Oscar-winning casting directors. The idea that they actually search for talent is another big myth - unless you call casting your nieces and nephews a talent search. They mostly just use drama schools and agents as filters - talent is presented to them, they don't SEARCH for it. Much. And then there's the nepotism - who cast Gwyneth Paltrow in her first film, Hook? A casting director? Er, no. Family friend, Steven Spielberg.

There's a reason why in over 50 years only one documentary has been made about a casting director - because she's probably the only one worthy of it.

by Anonymousreply 4508/26/2013

She's a he r35.

by Anonymousreply 4608/26/2013

Agree with R35, smart casting people are a dream to work with. But most of them are on their own power trip, to busy and full of themselves to actually locate any real talent.

by Anonymousreply 4708/26/2013

R45 is a friend o' mine and clearly in the biz. I worked in Casting as my day job for years and on huge projects and, trust me, it's the bottom of the entertainment food chain, so far from deserving an Oscar. Seriously, Best Production Secretary would be on par.

The only real power they have is to keep actors out -- which is why actors eye them with contempt (but have to keep it quiet). It requires no talent whatsoever, list making based on other truly creative people's discoveries.

Fortunately, I worked with a good one, a nice man who respected the actors. Trust me, that's not the norm.

by Anonymousreply 4808/26/2013

P.S. There was one Casting Director named MARY COLQHOUN that I always respected -- because of her work on NYC films, the way she filled in the cast so nicely for "After Hours", "Desperately Seeking Susan", etc. She had an edge. The ONLY one I ever really respected. And she died years ago. Now it's more corporate than ever; they have Approved Actor lists from the network to choose from so...

As Truman Capote said in a parallel universe, "That's not writing, that's typing."

by Anonymousreply 4908/26/2013

On Sept.3, this will be available on HBO OnDemand.

by Anonymousreply 5008/26/2013

[quote]On Sept.3, this will be available on HBO OnDemand.

I just watched it on HBO OnDemand thru Comcast yesterday.

by Anonymousreply 5108/26/2013

r46, this is r35, did I screw up a pronoun? I know Marion was a woman. Knew her in fact.

I completely agree with R49 Mary was great and her death untimely.

r48, what you write is true to some extent, however a casting director who is willing to fight for someone they believe in can make the difference. Some are glorified gatekeepers but some are determined advocates for actors and they are the ones who really help the business.

Nepotism in our business is HUGE. I can sell a client on lineage or connections to power quicker than any other factor except for outstanding beauty and sexual charisma.

I think it is obvious but it is worth pointing out that producers are tripping over themselves to hire Meryl Streep's daughters not because they have any native talent but because they know that if they hire the daughter of a bankable actress, they have made inroads to the bankable actress appearing in a project they might have.

Those young ladies are represented by their mother's agent, Kevin Huvane who makes damn sure those girls get work. He doesn't have to try that hard for the reasons stated.

I mean no disrespect to either of Meryl's daughters when I say that without their mothers name looming they would have a hard time getting a meeting with even the smallest of agencies.

Getting them auditions would be nearly impossible as they have nothing sell-able about them apart from being Meryl Streep's kids.

There have always been lists, btw, r49, everyone in this business makes lists, corporations always make lists. Marion was given lists that she ripped up and did her own thing. NOBODY does that today so blatantly but a smart casting director can sell an actor in the right circumstance.

And yes, many CD's think way too highly of themselves already and they have been pushing for this award for decades.

Risa Bramon used to wine about it endlessly to me in the 80's.

by Anonymousreply 5208/27/2013

WEHT Billy Hopkins? Wasn't he the casting wunderkind of the 1980s?

by Anonymousreply 5308/27/2013

r52 and r35 here. Billy Hopkins along with Risa Bramon were "the" hot casting couple for a period of time in the 80s.

He is focusing on directing now. He split with his last two casting partners.

by Anonymousreply 5408/27/2013

Not only did Marion keep her own lists on new actors but she did it all in longhand on 3" x 5" cards.

You see some of these cards with her incisive notes numerous times in the documentary.

by Anonymousreply 5508/27/2013

Taylor Hackford really does come across as a pretentious douche in this, doesn't he? He's not even that great of a director. Scorsese can give casting directors the credit they deserve so why the hell can't Hackford?!

by Anonymousreply 5608/27/2013

Marion actually cast a film I wrote and, yes, she was the end of an era really. She knew how to put together casts in terms of budget, made things happen because it was her.

Alas... I don't buy anyone doing that now. It's too corporate. I always tell the actors "Sleep with the director, not the casting people. They get trumped all the time."

P.S. Another thing that changed along the way -- post Marion -- was CDs doubling as goddam managers. My old boss did this too and they find cagey ways to avoid the conflict of interest stuff, though it clearly is anyway. He'd put one of his managed guys against two pretty good (but not great) actors and, surprise, who do you think the director would like? Especially with a little prodding if needed. He'd rationalized that he took no commission from those gigs but still... it would build them into stars sometimes (though not always). Corrupt, corrupt, corrupt but shrugged off somehow. So much for ethics in the CSA (don't even get me started on "pay to play" seminars, etc.)

by Anonymousreply 5708/27/2013

"It was especially enlightening to see the footage of a very young Jon Voight in the NY TV drama cast by Marion."

The Naked City. There is a box set of the show out now that features many of the early performances that were mentioned in the documentary.

by Anonymousreply 5808/27/2013

P.S. Didn't Billy H. do casting on "Precious" (a good job, if so).

And yeah, I dated one of the top casting directors in the biz, a huge one, and she was working on the committee to get the Oscar category but even she admitted it would never happen. It's weird enough having to share the Emmy with local casting directors who provide one line roles, etc. But I wouldn't mind a tribute to the big ones that paved the way, believed in certain actors and NOT because Bryan Lourd told them to. The ones who find the folks not related to Ron Howard. I would put even money that all the best ones come/came out of NYC.

by Anonymousreply 5908/27/2013
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